In conversation with Andrew Morgan, Director – Sustainability, Coats
COATS has a rich heritage of existence for over 250 years. Can you look back on the company’s Sustainability journey?
Sustainability has been a core value to Coats for many years. In 2019 we launched a brand new strategy, that put sustainability at the heart of our business. Our strategy set out seven ambitious targets for 2022, across five priority areas: water, energy, effluent and emissions, social and living sustainably. This year, we have emphasised our commitment to our strategy through two significant undertakings. In January, we committed to set science-based emissions reduction targets, across our entire value chain, that are consistent with keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Further to this, we have also committed to develop a long term target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the highest level of ambition on climate under the Science Based Target initiative. In addition, Coats is now a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the world’s leading network to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy.
What is the sustainable product range offered by COATS and how do these products help global textile brands to offer sustainable products to their customers?
The apparel supply chain faces many sustainability challenges. At Coats we are committed to develop products to meet such challenges. We have developed a range of new sustainable sewing threads, we call it our ‘Eco Journey’. As part of this journey, we have been developing different solutions to fit into the sustainability strategies of our customers. We started with EcoVerde, first launched in 2018, which is now one of the most comprehensive ranges of threads, zips, trims and yarns made from 100% recycled polyester.
Most recently, we have launched EcoRegen a range of sewing threads made from 100% lyocell, an eco-friendly regenerative fibre made from a wood pulp sourced from sustainably managed forests. It can be recycled, and is fully biodegradable and compostable due to its cellulosic origin. EcoRegen is a suitable sewing solution for a variety of apparel applications, to meet the needs of our customers. It is a nature based product with superior elongation, outstanding comfort and touch feel.
There are a further two new products which will be launched soon: EcoCycle is a range of water dissolvable threads that facilitate garment recycling and end to end circularity; and Eco-B is a recycled polyester thread incorporating an additive which reduces synthetic fibre accumulation in landfills and microfibre pollution in oceans.
With the launch of our new sustainable threads, we are developing products that allow our customers to design garments with a clear end-of-life strategy built into them. Adrian Elliot, President, Apparel and Footwear, Coats.
Manufacturing textiles using recycled plastics is increasingly becoming an important topic globally with many global brands and retailers setting ambitious targets. How is COATS helping this objective?
Our globally available, 100% recycled EcoVerde product range is made using post consumer PET plastic bottles, which helps brands to complete the loop for garments and accessories that already use recycled polyester fabrics or other eco-friendly fabrics or materials. In addition, because they are made entirely from recycled plastic fibres, EcoVerde products have a significantly lower carbon footprint than virgin fibres.
As part of our 5 Pillar Sustainability Strategy, we set ourselves the target of manufacturing all our premium polyester threads from 100% recycled PET by 2024. We have made significant progress towards this target over the past year and are continuing to extend the EcoVerde range to provide customers with sustainable sewing solutions, that perform just as well as virgin polyester and are suitable for multiple applications.
Looking into the future, what can we expect from COATS in the coming years? What is the target that COATS has set for itself in making sustainable products?
Textiles of the future must be designed for easy recycling and reuse. There should be no such thing as “end of life” for these materials – the point at which an individual garment has become too worn or too outmoded to be useful it should be seen as the raw material for a whole new iteration of use. We are now consciously building that new paradigm into our products and seeking to ensure that our customers can always find within our range a thread that will facilitate the recovery and reuse of the materials within their garments. Coats is committed to taking steps to play our part in the complex circular supply chains of the future.